From the WEForum, Davos-Klosters
UBS and the World Economic Forum have reached the goal they set to donate 2,500 specially designed bicycles to children in rural South Africa to help them get to school. This was part of The Davos Challenge: Walk for Education, which asked participants at the 45th Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters to walk as many steps at the meeting as some children have to walk to get to school in rural South Africa.
The bicycles will be provided by World Bicycle Relief, a not-for-profit organization that has been working in Africa for 10 years to improve access to education and increase learning outcomes by reducing travel time for children. Providing kids with robust bikes built for rugged country terrain can reduce their travel times by 75%, boosting attendance and educational achievement.
The first 1,000 participants who signed up for the challenge at the meeting in Davos were given an activity tracker to log the distance they walked. The participants in the challenge walked an average of more than 14 kilometres during the course of the meeting, beating the target of 6 kilometres per person.
“This was a remarkable display of how a creative public-private collaboration can help address an important social challenge in a meaningful way,” said Elsie Kanza, Senior Director, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum. “The Davos Challenge shows that becoming a responsible stakeholder in the global community can be done one step at a time.”
“It was impressive to see the enthusiasm of the many participants,” said Axel A. Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors of UBS. “The Davos Challenge brought out both the community and competitive spirit in all of us. We look forward to delivering the bicycles to these children and providing them with better access to education.”
The UBS Optimus Foundation has commissioned the Stanford Research Institute to conduct a rigorous study to assess the impact the bikes have on the learning outcomes of the children who receive them.